BLOGS

I Want My DVD: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Channing and Rachel, sitting in a tree...

The Vow
Between 21 Jump Street, Magic Mike and the second G.I. Joe adventure, this is shaping up to be a big year for one Mr. Channing Tatum. And the ex-male stripper got 2012 off to a strong start with this romantic drama, which became the year's first big $100 million hit when it opened in February, taking full advantage of the weepy romanticism inspired by Valentine's Day. Based (very loosely) on a true story, the film finds Tatum and Rachel McAdams playing an adorable Chicago couple whose marriage is put to the test when a car accident robs McAdams of her memory of their life together. As Tatum fights to keep their relationship alive, McAdams is lured back into the bosom of her family thanks to her conniving parents (Sam Neil and Jessica Lange) and douchy boyfriend (Scott Speedman). It's routine melodrama all the way, although watching Tatum try to express deep emotion is almost as funny as anything in 21 Jump Street.
Extras: A commentary track with director Michael Suscy, deleted scenes, a gag reel (gotta finds some laughter amidst the tears after all) and three behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Click here to read our original review

Underworld: Awakening
Along with Resident Evil, the Underworld series is one of those action franchises that seems destined to churn out interchangeable sequels from now until the end of time, as there's a built-in audience that turns out for every installment. This fourth entry takes place twelve years after the events of the second film (the third, Rise of the Lycans, was a prequel) and follows vampire warrior Selene (Kate Beckinsale, squeezing herself back into that skintight leather outfit) as she awakens from over a decade in deep freeze and discovers that 1) Mankind has discovered the existence of vampires and lycans (i.e. werewolves) and has launched a vicious extermination campaign; 2) Her hybrid boyfriend Michael (previously played by Scott Speedman) is MIA and presumed dead; and 3) She has a daughter with their combined powers. Running a slender 78 minutes (plus 10 minutes of credits) Awakening is basically one long action sequence, but considering how terrible the dialogue is whenever the shooting stops, that's probably a good thing.
Extras: A blooper reel, five featurettes, a music video and a commentary track with the directors.

Dirty Dancing: 2 Film Collection
Dirty Dancing has been released a number of times in a number of different editions on DVD and Blu-ray, but this is the first time you can get the original '80s classic packaged together with a high-def version of its oh-my-god-that's-a-real-movie? sequel/spin-off, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. The charms of the original are well-known at this point, from the awesome soundtrack, to the insanely quotable dialogue ("Nobody puts Baby in a corner!") and Patrick Swayze's vintage Swayze-ness. It's hard to call Havana Nights charming, but, like a car wreck, it's impossible to look away from, particularly when it tries to depict the Cuban Revolution on its oh-so-limited budget. Poor Diego Luna and Romola Garai try their best as not-Patrick Swayze and not-Jennifer Grey respectively, but there's a reason that their once-hot careers cooled off considerably in the wake of this film's release.
Extras: Dirty Dancing comes with a smorgasbord of extras that have mostly been ported over from earlier editions -- including one commentary track with the writer and another with a crew of dance experts led by Kenny Ortega, a slew of retrospective featurettes (among them, a tribute to the late Swayze), outtakes, cast interviews and vintage '80s music videos. Havana Nights' offerings are more limited, but do include deleted scenes, a commentary track with the producer and choreographer and multi-angle dance sequences.

Gremlins 2: The New Batch
In the annals of sequels that top their originals, attention must be paid to Joe Dante's endlessly inventive follow-up to his 1984 horror favorite. Where the first movie is a good deal of fun, The New Batch is downright inspired, regularly bending its own reality in ways that recall classic Looney Tunes shorts. (In, Bugs and Daffy make a quick appearance before the movie begins; after that, it's no accident that Dante went on to direct the underrated live action Looney Tunes vehicle Back in Action a decade later.) From John Glover's marvelously droll turn as a Trump-like tycoon to Leonard Maltin popping up midway through the movie to lambast the original -- and then getting attacked by Gremlins -- this is one of the lost genre classics of the '90s.
Extras: Commentary from Dante, a behind-the-scenes documentary, additional scenes and a gag reel.

Also on DVD:
That comedy duo known as Tim & Eric bring their brand of love-it-or-hate-it surrealism to the big screen in the form of Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie. And if that's not bizarre enough for your, 42nd Street Forever: Blu-ray Edition is a massive collection of high-def trailers for some of the craziest grindhouse exploitation fare ever made. You can bet this disc is in regular rotation at Quentin Tarantino's house. Finally, Christian Slater recovers from Breaking In's latest cancellation by appearing in the direct-to-DVD thriller Playback.

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